TITLE: Grace and the Guardian
GENRE: Young Adult
When Grace Cartwright walked into the debutante luncheon at the Varangian hotel’s ballroom, she didn’t just see a room filled with pretty and popular sixteen-year-old girls, she saw the natural order of a wealthy suburban species.
“If this were a room full of zebras,” Grace said, scanning the crowd of her so-called peers, “I’d be the one attacked by the lion.”
“Grace!” Her mother, Sybil, scolded. “What kind of talk is that?”
“Lions,” Grace continued, her gaze ferocious, “kill the weak, the sick, and the lame.”
“You’re not -” Sybil began, but then clamped her mouth shut.
Grace wasn’t weak or sick, but she was a gimp, and there was nothing her mother could say about it. Crippled by cerebral palsy, every step was a limp, every word she spoke sounded like a strangled duck.
“Good thing you’re not a zebra,” Hope, Grace’s perfect sister, chirped.
“Yes.” Sybil’s stiff smile matched her posture. “And good thing there aren’t any lions.”
Grace wasn’t so sure. Some of the debutantes’ mothers looked carnivorous.
Grace wanted to quit. She also wanted to be normal, to have a boyfriend, to kiss a boy. She was used to disappointment.
A husky, male voice whispered her name. Grace looked around, but the herd was all female. No men in sight.
“Grace, I’m watching you.”
The strange, sexy whisper was in her head but it sounded so real.
“You’re not alone.”
A tiny thrill twirled up her crooked spine like a flowering vine.